One of the many inconveniences imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic has been the difficulty in obtaining notarization of documents. Yesterday, Secretary of State Dr. Shirley N. Weber held a Zoom hearing to discuss whether remote notarization should be permitted in California. The hearing was attended by more than 500 persons and included proponents and opponents of the concept. The Secretary of State announced that she currently has no position on the idea.
Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer has, in fact, introduced legislation, AB 1093, that would permit a notary public to apply for registration with the Secretary of State to be a remote online notary public. The bill would authorize the Secretary of State to adopt implementing regulations but does not specify, or authorize the imposition of, standards to be observed by remote notaries.
As with everything else that occurs online, online notarizations create the opportunity for theft of personal information that is collected in the course of the transaction (including facial images and identification records). The California League of Independent Notaries testified in opposition to online notarizations unless specific concerns were addressed. The California Land Title Association testified in support of online notarizations.